New public opinion research commissioned by the Iowa Biodiesel Board shows strong awareness of – and favorability towards – biodiesel. The research, conducted in early September, shows 87% of Iowans surveyed are familiar with biodiesel. Of those familiar, 74% have a positive impression of biodiesel, with just 2% saying they have a negative impression.
Randy Olson, IBB executive director, says the numbers reflect support for biodiesel at a critical time. Congress is hearing opposition from the petroleum lobby to the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. The policy ensures America's fuel supply includes renewable fuel. "Iowa's Congressional delegation is among the greatest champions of the RFS as sound energy policy, and this polling of their constituents shows their support is well-placed," Olson says. "We hope the rest of Congress recognizes that poll after poll shows Americans favor renewable, cleaner burning biodiesel."
IBB presented the results last week at its annual meeting. The survey, conducted by Moore Information, consisted of 500 online interviews among a representative sample of registered voters statewide in Iowa.
Survey respondents identified the top benefits of using biodiesel as:
* Biodiesel is a homegrown fuel and every gallon of biodiesel we use reduces our reliance on foreign oil;
* Biodiesel is made from diverse, renewable resources produced in Iowa;
* Biodiesel is produced right here in Iowa and increasing its use will help create jobs and improve the economy.
"This research reinforces that we are headed in the right direction by diversifying our energy supply, using agricultural innovation and domestic resources to fuel our nation's vehicles and economy," says Mark Cobb, IBB chairman. Cobb is vice president of Iowa Renewable Energy, a biodiesel production plant based in Washington, Iowa; and he is also president of Cobb Oil, a petroleum distributor based in Brighton, Iowa. Biodiesel is an advanced biofuel made from agricultural byproducts and coproducts such as soybean oil. The Iowa Biodiesel Board is a state trade association representing the biodiesel industry.
U.S. soy demand gets boost from biodiesel, as fuel manufacturers could use at least 4.8 billion pounds of soybean oil this year
The biodiesel that fuels semis, farm tractors and bus fleets continues to fuel market potential for U.S. soybean oil and profit opportunities for U.S. soybean farmers. In order to meet federal biodiesel-usage requirements of 1.28 billion gallons this year, diesel fuel makers will need 9 billion pounds of vegetable oils and animal fats. At least 4.8 billion pounds of that could be soybean oil. That's the oil from 430 million bushels of U.S. soybeans. This requirement of 1.28 billion gallons is called for by the Renewable Fuels Standard.
"There's value for soybean farmers from the growing market use of soybean oil for biodiesel," says Gregg Fujan, a United Soybean Board director and soybean farmer from Nebraska. "It expands the market for our soybeans, which also increases the price we receive."
According to research commissioned by soybean farmers through their state soy checkoff boards, biodiesel contributed to a $15 billion increase in soybean-oil revenues between 2006 and 2012. Over that time period, this raised the price of soybeans by 74 cents per bushel. Soy-checkoff-funded research on biodiesel's environmental benefits helped it qualify under the Environmental Protection Agency as an Advanced Biofuel. Under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (known as RFS2), at least 1.28 billion gallons of biodiesel will be produced in the United States in 2013.
For nearly 20 years, soybean oil has been the primary feedstock for U.S. biodiesel manufacturing. The soy checkoff helps fund biodiesel research and promotion efforts to increase fuel and feedstock demand for U.S. soybean farmers.
The 69 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soymeal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy's customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.